Tag Archives: Space

[LA Life] Enjoy an Intellectual Double Date with the Natural History Museum and California Science Center

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Living in Los Angeles for the past eight years, you could say that I’m a bit spoiled from a cultural perspective – but to be honest, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  This city eats, sleeps, breathes and oozes keen artistic history and introspection, with interest piqued around each and every corner.  No matter your age, or the last time you went, museums have the innate ability to inspire a sense of childlike wonder and amazement to come out and play.  From Contemporary Art to Modern Art, archaeology and cultural history – museums provide a birds eye view into the beauty of the past and an intelligent projection of the future. Plainly put – a day wasted at the museum is simply never a waste.  

Most museums in the area are essentially one stop shops – The Broad sits downtown and houses contemporary art, the Getty and Getty Villa are vast and stunning anthologies of history – but sit alone and secluded; but then there’s Museum Row in West Hollywood and the library of museums at Exposition Park, each home to several stunning venues of nuanced interest.  Museum Row plays host to the LACMA, the Tar Pits and it’s museum as well as the Craft Art Museum and Peterson Automotive Museum while Exposition Park houses the Natural History Museum, California Science Center, USC Fisher Museum of Art and the California African American Museum. Since I used to live near the Tar Pits, I’m a bit biased – and some could argue spoiled – so an adventure West didn’t really strike my fancy; but a double date with the Natural History Museum and the California Science Center? Sign this kitten up for a dichotomous day-adventure, stat!

Exposition Park sits in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, and is surrounded by the University of Southern California.  My friends and I know the area best for the incredible music concerts, Massives and raves held at LA Memorial Colosseum over the last decade like Electric Daisy Carnival, Camp Flog Gnaw, How Sweet It Is, Nocturnal Wonderland and so many more.  I don’t know whats more grown up than getting your knowledge on in the same place you got your PLUR on, so two points for us – at least. Spanning 160 acres, Exposition Park evolved from privately owned fairgrounds and a racetrack into a cultural center for young Los Angeles at the turn of the last century.

First things first, let’s talk some pro tips. The directions might tell you to enter the parking lot at Expo Park via Exposition, save yourself a headache and come in on Vermont with some cash, parking is $12 and they don’t accept credit cards. When visiting the Natural History Museum – save yourself some time by purchasing the tickets online; you can even do it while you’re waiting to get in.

World’s Largest Ammonite

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much for artistic museums, less the Getty Villa and some incredible architecture; but historical fossils and technological progress always find a way to pull at my heart strings. Hands down, my favorite part of the NHM is the Gem and Mineral Hall. Each corner of the room sparkles with a technicolor glow with vibrant greens and blues which don’t make sense as minerals, iridescent shimmers and even some stones from outer space.  Indoors you can wander and wonder through the Dinosaur Hall, American Mammal Hall, African Mammal Hall, Marsh environment and Insect and Bird exhibits.  If you take the adventure into the great outdoors, you’ll get a prime view of Expo Park’s esteemed Rose Garden (more on that later!), the edible garden and a pollinators garden; easily one of the most tranquil areas on the grounds.  In about three hours, we managed to meander through the entire breadth of the Natural History Museum, leaving no stone unturned (pun, slightly intended) – and with the perfect amount of time to visit our second stop!

The California Science Center is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Natural History Museum – providing a wonderful contrast to the artifacts that you were just musing over. Olus, it’s free to get in and explore – while certain flight simulators and IMAX movies will cost ya between $5 and $12..  There are ample learning centers around the building, but before I get into that: there are also a good amount of food options to choose from! Though the NHMLA does have a quick service deli and sit down restaurant on their bottom floor, their food was no match for the Science Center’s food court.  But, let’s get beyond our stomachs. The Cal Science Center eagerly explores global ecosystems and gets in a fair share of hands on learning.   Stand in the splash zone or explore tide pools, stand in the middle of a hurricane, play with sound waves and wrap your head around the capsules that we sent humans to space in for days at a time (they’re tiny!).All the museums in the area open at 10 in the morning and close at 5pm,  but it’s no reason to leave straight away.  Take a stroll through the historic Expo Park Rose Garden and stay for sunset, you can thank me later.

For more on the Natural History Museum Los Angeles, the California Science Center and the Exposition Park Rose Garden – check out their social channels.

Natural History Museum: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

California Science CenterWebsite | Facebook | Twitter 


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[Self Discovery] Delight Yourself in Friday’s Once In a Lifetime Solar Hat Trick

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This Friday, the stars are aligning in the most beautiful of ways.  First and foremost, Spring will finally be sprung!  Living in California, we’re a tad spoiled with the weather – but with Spring comes Festival Season, which makes me all sorts of giddy like a kid on their first day of Summer Camp with the best snacks in their lunchbox and a stuntin’ new do. Spring means love blossoms from the heart like flowers from the bud, that the happy humans and beautiful brains of Los Angeles will be out and about, spanning rooftops, lounges and underground affairs while enjoying laughter and a light evening breeze.  The Spring Equinox is more than ushering in the new season with the idea of rebirth, regeneration and growth.  Known as the Vernal Equinox to some, it’s also the time of year when the suns shines directly on the equator of our slightly shifted home planet – giving us hypothetically equal amounts of day and night. Derived from latin roots, equinox translates into ‘Equal Nights’ but that isn’t always so.  As it turns out not only does your attitude depend on your latitude, as Kanye muses, but your equinox does, too.  Depending on where you’re sitting on the Earth’s axis, you’re going to have your equinox at slightly different dates surrounding the equinox.  The closer you are to the poles, the closer you are to celebrating the equinox on the ‘Equinox’ – our actual equinox in Los Angeles was on the 16th; so good news for us, the days are just going to keep getting longer!  But no matter, at 3:45 PM in LA, 22:45 UTC, the First Point of Aries will usher in the Spring Equinox in sweet, serene style.

A point of balance in the world, the Spring Equinox brings with it a beautiful time to lay plans into motion, forge a new friendship or enter into that romantic relationship you’ve been tip-toeing around.  Spring is a time to expound upon chances and effectively be reborn within yourself.  Go start a new project, follow your passion and add a bit of spark to your life and watch your world shine.   This equinox occurs with the moon at one of of it’s closest points to Earth’s atmosphere, making it a ‘Supermoon‘!

Not only does the 20th mark our Spring Equinox, but we’re all about to get an incredibly special treat.  In a monstrous celestial celebration for all of Earth’s creatures (and maybe a few on Venus and Mars as well), on Friday we’ll be treated to a rare bird: the total solar eclipse. In fact, it’s been almost a year and a half since the last total eclipse back in November of 2013.  If you want your brain to explode just slightly, try this on for size: it’s been over 350 years since there was a total eclipse during the spring equinox! The last time these two celestial events coincided was supposedly all the way back in 1662, and it won’t be happening again until 2034!  The next time they appear simultaneously will thankfully be within my lifetime, but noting the odds – that’s a bit of luck as well!

Unfortunately for those of us in the Americas, we’ll have to live vicariously through our brothers down under and the lads across the pond in Europe.  The next time we’ll get our gander at an eclipse of any sort in the US will be August 21, 2017. Mark your cell phone calendars and etch it in your mind, it’ll be a day to remember.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you can see the Solar Eclipse – please, please, please: take precautions with your eyes!  The sun is a powerful ball of energy, bursting with life and just because the moon is passing over it doesn’t mean you should stare into it.  If you want to appreciate the full glory of the eclipse, there are special shades you can buy – and special lenses for your camera if you’re in the mood to get a stellar snapshot.

For more details on Friday’s Eclipse, these two infographics from NASA and Space.com sum it up very nicely:

Credit: NASA

Credit: Space.com

[Oh, Snap!] A Morning at The Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium

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There’s nothing quite as wonderful as when parents come cruising into town – work and reality take a back seat to family time, heart conversation and big laughs; the world slows to an even keel and all seems relatively right with the world. After spending last Saturday roaming around The Huntington Gardens, it was only fitting that we continue our conquest of Los Angeles – one beautiful park at a time. Danny and I’ve been to Griffith Park several times before – to hike on the trails both above and below the observatory, as well as adventure through the surrounding woods but last time was our first adventure inside the observatory itself.

Science buffs, technophiles and camera lovers be warned – it’s all sorts of amazing in there! From the elemental building blocks of science
(highlighted: are all the elements in the human body), to amazing telescopes and celestial discoveries, there really is something for every level of scientist.

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[Wednesday Watercooler]

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Well, here we are again – it’s the week’s halftime, the 7th inning stretch or its official 2:30 feeling; however you slice and dice it, it always feels amazing to stroll into the office on a Wednesday knowing the battle is more or less half over.

Summer has officially gone and Autumn has officially swept  over Los Angeles – which, besides a few blustery days and pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, means about jack shit.  After five years in this city, I’ve come to the conclusion that we either have perpetual spring (which causes allergies to act out at the strangest times) or we have the ability to experience all of them in a single day.  One thing’s for sure though: when Summer ends the work load definitely picks up.  If you work in an incredibly corporate climate, Q4 earnings are all the rage; for a company like Disney that’s been around for 90 years as of today, doubly so.  I’ve caught myself working odd hours and well into the night because I’m committed to delivering the best final product – but man, does it take some life out of me!  The last thing I want to do after sitting on a computer for twelve hours is keep sitting on the computer – I need sunshine, fresh air and human contact; I need balance.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of holding on and letting go.
Havelock Ellis

By balance – I mean life outside of html codes, Access databases and vlookups in Excel; life outside of monitors, dragging, dropping and double clicking.  Back before Facebook, AIM and ICQ – we actually had to be social in order to cultivate camaraderie; but now – in 2013 – we silently sit in our self imposed solitary confinement, sending invitations to play “online games” with people halfway across the world when we don’t even know the names of our physical neighbors.  There’s a fine line between where the internet brings us together as social adhesive and where it separates us like the polarity of a magnet.   I bring this up because I continually walk this line within both my personal and professional lives – and I know I’m not the only one.  When you telecommute for work four days a week, you lose the corporate climate and constant interaction; you can’t read the reaction on someones face, you can only infer it through the syntax of their emails.  The same can be said for your personal relationships – how many of us have overlooked calling a friend to congratulate them or catch up simply because we’ve seen their posts on –Insert-Social-Media-Site-Here– and think “Why bother? Looks like they’re enjoying themselves!”  Sure, they probably are – but life is more enjoyable with the people you love by your side so next time you see an awesome update, rad picture or funny quote: reach out and touch them! Text, call or send a picture – hell, even write them a handwritten letter; it’s so easy to press a button and “acknowledge” someones actions online but true real world communication is what cultivates closeness and builds relationships.  So do your due diligence today and tell someone how much you appreciate them – call you parents, your kid sister or even compliment a total stranger.  Bet your bottom dollar you’ll walk away with a bounce in your step! Now, enough banter from the back of my brain – onto the Watercooler!

Oreos Are Equally Addictive As Cocaine or Morphine

I have first hand experience with this one – my boyfriend and I just discovered the Mint Oreos and the package is basically empty. So next time your friends tell you they’re addicted to Oreos, you might want to give them the benefit of the doubt!  According to Joseph Schroeder, a neuroscientist at the Connecticut College, and a group of students – these sweet little morsels of heaven are just as addictive as cocaine or morphine (and a lot cheaper, too!).  The study, conducted to determine the correlation between high-sugar / high-fat food and addiction, proves that foods high in sugar target the pleasure center of the brain the same way that drugs do.  What does this mean for science? Because high sugar foods use the same neurological mechanism as morphine and cocaine, we should be able approach obesity and drug addiction in the same manner.

NASA Wants to Know If You’re Good In Bed

You might think you’re excellent in the bedroom – but can you stay cooped up lying down for 70 days?  If your answer is an emphatic YES – this new NASA study might just be for you!  Known as the ‘Bed Rest Study‘, subjects will spend approximately ten weeks on their back in an exercise program being built for astronauts.  The goal of the study is to minimize the bone loss, muscle loss and cardiovascular function of astronauts through daily weightless aerobic training and exercise.  The program pays $170 a day, or $18,000 for ten weeks in a perpetual horizontal state and five more being studied.  If you’re not attached to standing or sitting, this is definitely the job for you – head on over and apply here!

Drunk Dial Congress

Now, call it juvenile but there’s nothing like having a strong drink and a good yelling match – even if it’s at a pet (or wall, or any other inanimate object of choice); so when I stumbled across this website I thought “Winner, winner – chicken dinner!”.  Congress is currently full of people who can’t get their head of out each others asses long enough to do something positive for the collective good of this nation – so nothing sounds quite as sweet as calling them after a cold one and letting them have it.

Crazy Cat Ladies Rejoice – Wine for Cats Means You’ll Never Drink Alone

Yeah; you read that correctly.  In this beautiful, wonderful, batshit crazy world we live in someone’s taken their sweet time to develop – you guessed it – kitty wine.  Now, I think this is hilarious because Sake – my main cat – is named after the rice wine, so it’s only fitting that I can now give him a bottle of himself!  The wine is called Nyan Nyan Nouveau and is a concoction of catnip, cabernet grape juice and some vitamin c – what’s that mean? That your cat is about to get TURNT. There’s a limited supply in production – only about a thousand bottles – so if this piques your fancy, you best act on it fast!

The end of drinking alone? Wine for cats is a thing